Felix Hernandez, a winner over Oakland in his first start, goes for his 100th career victory when the Mariners face the Chicago White Sox Saturday. / Getty Images
GAME: Mariners (3-2, T2, AL West, -0.5 GB) at White Sox (2-2, T1, AL Central, 0.0 GB). GAME #: 6. SERIES: 2nd of 3 games. MEETING: 2nd (Mariners lead 1-0). WHEN: Saturday, 10:10 a.m., U.S. Cellular Field. STREAKS: Mariners W 1; White Sox L 2. TV: Root Sports. RADIO: ESPN 710, Mariners Radio Network
For all of his success — a Cy Young award, three All-Star appearances, a perfect game — Felix Hernandez has never enjoyed much success against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. Hernandez owns only one career win against four losses while posting an uncharacteristically high 4.75 ERA with 10 home runs allowed.
But if Hernandez can beat the White Sox Saturday, as a followup to Seattle’s 8-7, 10-inning victory Friday night, he will reach a significant career milestone: victory No. 100. The win would enable Hernandez to join Jamier Moyer (145) and Randy Johnson (130) as the only pitchers in club history to win 100 games while wearing Seattle duds.
Hernandez won’t reach his 100th victory as fast as the Big Unit did, but he will get there a lost faster than the late-blooming Moyer.
“It’s going to be special,” Hernandez said. “It’ll be good to finally get to 100. I’ll try my hardest. These guys (his teammates) want it so bad because they’re going to do something for me.”
Johnson won his 100th April 6, 1996 by defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 8-5 in the Kingdome. Johnson required 220 games and 218 starts to produce 100 wins. Hernandez will be making his 240th career start Saturday as he tries for No. 100. Johnson, a likely first-ballot Hall of Famer, went on to win 303 games.
At the time of his 100th, Johnson had tossed 41 complete games. Felix’s next will be his 24th. In his first 100 wins, Johnson recorded 15 shutouts. Felix is seeking his 10th. Johnson punched out 1,644 batters in his first 100 wins. Felix has disposed of 1,495 in his 99. Hernandez has a statistical edge in two places, a better career ERA — 3.20 — than Johnson — 3.52 — and 283 fewer walks (481 to Johnson’s 764).
Hernandez, who also needs five strikeouts to reach 1,500 for his career, will oppose 27-year-old Dylan Axelrod, who will not only be making his season debut but will be facing the Mariners for the first time in his career. Axelrod is seeking his fourth career victory. A closer look at the probables:
MARINERS: RHP Felix Hernandez (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.52 WHIP)
- LAST START: April 1, defeated the Oakland A’s 2-0 on Opening Day; 3 hits over 7.2 innings with 8 strikeouts and 1 walk; 109 pitches, 69 for strikes.
- LAST VS. WHITE SOX: June 1, 2012, took a no-decision in Seattle’s 7-4 loss at U.S. Cellular Field; 4 earned runs on 5 hits over 5.0 innings; 6 strikeouts to 4 walks, 3 home runs; 85 pitches, 49 for strikes.
- CAREER VS. WHITE SOX: 3-4, 3.53 ERA in 12 starts covering 79.0 innings, including 1 complete game; 73 strikeouts to 25 walks, 14 home runs; 1.27 WHIP.
- AT U.S. CELLULAR FIELD: 1-4, 4.75 ERA in 7 starts covering 41.2 innings; 36 strikeouts to 15 walks, 10 home runs.
- LOVES TO FACE: Adam Dunn (1-for-4, .250), Alex Rios (5-for-23, .217), Dayan Vicideo (0-for-2, .000).
- HATES TO FACE: Brent Morel (2-for-3, .667), Alexei Ramierez (6-for-21, .286), Paul Konerko (7-for-25, .280).
- CURRENT WHITE SOX VS. HERNANDEZ: 25-for-96, .260 BA, 28 strikeouts, 9 walks, 5 home runs, .327 on-base percentage.
WHITE SOX: LHP Dylan Axelrod (2-2, 5.77 ERA, 1.50 WHIP)
- LAST START: Sept. 29, 2012, pitching in relief, took a no-decision in an 10-4 loss to Tampa Bay; 2 earned runs on 2 hits in 1.2 innings; 3 strikeouts to 3 walks, 1 home run.
- LAST VS. MARINERS: Never pitched.
- CAREER VS. MARINERS: No record.
- AT U.S. CELLULAR FIELD: 1-1, 6.49 ERA in 10 games, including 5 starts, covering 34.2 innings; 29 strikeouts to 14 walks, 7 home runs, 1.55 WHIP.
- LOVES/HATES TO FACE: Axelrod has faced two current Seattle hitters, Raul Ibanez (0-for-2, .000) and Kelly Shoppach (0-for-1, .000).
- CURRENT MARINERS VS. AXELROD: 0-for-6, .000 BA, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, .143 on-base percentage.
MARINERS STATS / NOTES
- CURRENT ROAD TRIP: Four at Oakland (Monday-Wednesday), three at Chicago White Sox (Friday-Sunday).
- UPCOMING HOME STAND: Three vs. Houston (Monday-Wednesday), four vs. Texas (Thursday-Sunday), three vs. Detroit (April 16-18). The Mariners will not get their first day off until April 15.
- Seattle has just four wins in its last 20 games against Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field (since 2008). Overall, the Mariners have 11 wins in their past 44 games against the White Sox.
- Franklin Gutierrez has two leadoff home runs in the past three games. Guttierrez hit just five home runs total in the last two seasons. His 3-for-5 night Friday hiked his batting average to .412.
- The Mariners went 6-for-11 with runners in scoring position Friday.
- Gutierrez, Kendrys Morales (2-for-5), Brendan Ryan (2-for-4) had multi-hit games against the White Sox Friday as the Mariners pounded out 12 hits. Morales brought his batting average up to .176. But Dustin Ackley went 0-for-4 and is batting .063.
- Through six games, the Mariners rank 10th in the AL in batting average (.232), seventh in on-base percentage (.309) and eighth in slugging (.393). Last year, the Mariners ranked 14th in all three categories.
- The Mariners have hit six home runs to rank third in the AL. Last year, the Mariners ranked 11th.
- Friday’s game began with a temperature of 34 degrees — matching the coldest start to a Mariners game since 1988.
- Mariners manager Eric Wedge said backup catcher Kelly Shoppach will probably be in the lineup Saturday.
- Houston’s Philip Humber will start against the Mariners Tuesday at Safeco Field. The last time Humber pitched at Safeco, April 21, 2012, he threw a perfect game against Seattle.
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